The beginning of the school year is always full emotions, both for parents and kids. In the early grades, kids usually can’t wait to head back to school, and if all goes well, school is a pleasant experience every day.
I can’t speak for all parents, but I’m personally excited to get back to a routine and get the kids out of the house! Plus, it’s good for the kids to get back to seeing their friends and to doing things that fuel their curiosity and interests. If you have a youngster going to a new school this year, you’ve probably been experiencing some anxiety ever since before the previous school year ended. My new Kindergartener started expressing some fears after discussing it as a class in her preschool, but thankfully Big Sis was close by to assure her that she would be fine and have a great time.
As with any fears, you want to acknowledge how your child is feeling, validate their feelings as normal, and then discuss ways to work through it. With my eldest, who will be in 2nd grade this year, what made her upset was going on the bus on her own without knowing anyone. She cried the night before and even shed some tears as she stood on the steps leading into the bus, but my saying to her has always been “I know you’re scared, but you still have to do it.” She was so excited about starting Kindergarten; she wanted to read and write and knew she wouldn’t learn how to do it unless she went to school. She knew she wouldn’t see her friends if she didn’t go to school. In short, she knew that even though she was scared, she still had to do it. And sure enough, after she stepped off the bus on the first day of school, she exclaimed with joy at how much she loved school.
But I am only one parent. Everyone has an experience with school that is unique to their child. I polled my blogger friends as well as fellow FabKids brand ambassadors to learn what worked for them:
Miriam: We let the kids have pictures of us and their favorite stuffed animals they could keep in their desks/cubbies. That cut down on a lot of problems. Though I just dropped off my youngest for her first day of fifth grade, and she is definitely over any separation anxiety she had when she was little. It does get easier.
Lourdes: When we had our first son, I’d offer my sister to take her kids to school before going to work when ever I could (bringing my son along). He got used to the idea of going to school at a very early age and then I applied the same concept with my two younger kids, never had any problems with separation anxiety.
Jess: Going over the schedule with my daughter helps her feel less concerned. I like to give her an idea of how her day will go and reassure her that I will be there to pick her and her brother up. I keep an upbeat and cheerful attitude when dropping her off, and tell her that I will be thinking about her all day long.
Monica: My son needs to know what he is going to do in advance. So I use a calendar to show him the day he is coming back to school. And go over all the things we are going to do to get ready. And answer any questions he has, this makes him feel less anxious and more in control.
Kimberly: I find that enough sleep is key to a successful day!
Kelly: We pick out our outfit the night before and decide what toys she might want to put in her backpack for aftercare so that she wakes up feeling excited about the day. We also go over the lunch menu so she knows whether to choose a hot meal or PB & honey (and on Mondays I make her lunch to kick off the week).
Rhonda: The childcare/preK school that my daughter attends lets us post pictures on their bulletin board so she can always go see us and show us off! Lol! They also have an accessible webcam for the room. I know this won’t be realistic when she goes to kindergarten so I can’t wait to read your blog post!
Reesa of Mommalew.com: When my son was very anxious about starting his new school, we asked if we could come in and do a quick tour. He left feeling confident and excited after seeing his fun new classroom and meeting his super sweet teacher!
Georgette of The Playground Blog: As a former teacher and a mom of two, my best advice is to show your child that you are confident. If you look nervous, your child will sense it and feed off of it. Be calm and positive and make the goodbye quick. If you linger, your child will start to feel anxious and react.
Erica of www.mominthemiddle.net: My middle son is a worry wart! This summer when I was sending him to day camp for a week I knew it was going to be tough on him. The day before, I bought clay that you bake in the oven. We made worry stones for him to carry in his pockets. The idea is that when he is feeling anxious/nervous/worried/scared/ or overwhelmed he can reach into his pockets and rub the stones. Essentially he’s rubbing his worries out of him and into the stones! They worked like a charm!
Bay of queenmotherblog.com: I will admit to feeling sad at back to school time because I miss my kids and maybe feel guilty that I didn’t “do enough” with them when they were home. So I just try to quickly parlay those feelings into motivation to get the things I need to get done quickly so I have more time to be “present” with them when they’re home.
Sarah of FinneganandtheHughes.com With my youngest, it has been an on again off again problem. We found that if we find what truly excites her during her school day, play it up, talk about it, get the teachers on board to try and heighten her level of excitement and involvement, it changes the whole situation and makes for a much easier out the door to school routine!
Heather of GirlGoneMom.com My tip is to not share your anxiety or speak of it around your kids. I have a friend who worries about everything and the fears do transfer to her children.
Dawn of Partybluprints.com: I love the book the Kissing Hand – it’s great to read with a little one who is anxious about school.
How are you handling the summer-to-school transition? What methods have worked for you and your kids? Sound off below and let’s learn from each other!
AUTHOR BIO: Hilary Morris balances her role as mom of 3 girls with her own social media consulting business. Her love of fashion, as well as her daughters’ natural ability for coordinating unlikely colors & patterns, inspired the launch of her kids fashion blog AFancyGirlMust. She also is a Child Star Style contributor to HollywoodMomBlog. Hilary can often be found on Instagram giving a peek into her world of favorite local spots, recent craft projects, new recipes, fashion finds, and three little loves.